Player of the year awards : Athlete Bhandari makes it two in a row

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, July 2:

Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF) today gave away the Player of the Year (PoY) awards to athlete Rajendra Bahadur Bhandari, shuttler duo Puja Shrestha and Sumina Shrestha and footballer Pradeep Maharjan, marking the International Sports Journalists’ Day. The winners were awarded for their performances during 2061BS. Bhandari, who won the award last year too, got the award in men’s section while Puja and Sumina were awarded in women’s section. Bhandari, 28, set a South Asian record finishing the 5,000m in 14:04:89 at the Athens Olympics, breaking the national record of Gyan Bahadur Bohara (14:34:15). Bhandari, who finished first in the 5000m at the All Star Asian Championships in Singapore, became the first Nepali to win a gold medal in Asian level. Tribhuvan Army Club’s football skipper Janamat Karki received the award on behalf of Bhandari, who is in UN Peace Keeping Mission in Congo. Other nominees were Deepak Shrestha (karate), Digesh Malla (chess) and footballers Pradeep Maharjan and Bikash Malla.

In women’s section, Puja and Sumina got the award jointly for winning the women’s doubles silver medal in the Asian Satellite Badminton Tournament in Pakistan. The Shrestha duo are first to reach the heights in any Asian level badminton. Taekwondo ace Sangina Baidya, who won the award last year, was nominated in women’s section along with weightlifter Taradevi Pun, athlete Kan-chimaya Koju and taekwondo player Renuka Magar. Footballer Pradeep won the the Youth Player of the Year award, which was added from this year. The Three Star Club midfielder scored the winner against Vietnam in the U-20 Asia Cup qualifying tournament. He was also named the best midfielder in the national league. Other nominees were cricketer Paras Khadka, swimmer Alice Shrestha, Bikash and Digesh. The men’s and women’s winners got Rs 10,000 each, trophies, gift hampers from attsh and Buddha Air’s mountain flight tickets. The youth PoY winner got Rs 5,000 along with trophy and gift hampers. NSC member secretary Kishor Bahadur Singh, ANFA president Ganesh Thapa, NOC general secretary Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan, and FNJ chairman Bishnu Nishthuri, and APF AIGP Rabi Raj Thapa gave away the prizes.